Taika Waititi’s takeover of the cultural landscape continues with Reservation Dogs, a new comedy-drama show on FX and Hulu that now has its first trailer. The series hails from Waititi and Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, and will debut on August 9.
The show paints a semi-autobiographical account of Harjo’s life. Like the Indigenous teenage protagonists of Reservation Dogs, Harjo also hails from Oklahoma. The show follows their misadventures as they save up (stolen) money to get to California. “You’re good thieves, best in town,” a character quips in the trailer, before adding, “It’s a small town.”
While the first image for the show teased connections to Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs — it featured the four leads wearing suits — the trailer plays up a strong tonal resemblance to Waititi’s quirky comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Harjo admitted that the show — a decidedly risky proposition, considering the overall lack of Indigenous representation in film — would not have been possible without Waititi, who has earned massive clout in Hollywood thanks to the blockbuster success of Thor: Ragnarok and the Oscars love that his follow-up Jojo Rabbit received.
“The only reason I get to make this show is because of Taika Waititi, and it’s like the best gift a friend could give someone,” Harjo said following a screening at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, per The Hollywood Reporter. “He walked this into FX and then let me take off and make this show. I don’t think any other show that I would make would be as important as this is to me.”
He highlighted his and Waititi’s Indigenous roots and said that the show will offer a realistic portrayal of Native Americans. “As longtime friends, it was only natural that Taika and I found a project together, and what better than a show that celebrates the complementary storytelling styles of our Indigenous communities — mine in Oklahoma and Taika’s in Aotearoa,” Harjo said in a statement. “We’re thrilled by the opportunity to tell the Reservation Dogs story with our amazing cast and crew, Garrett Basch, and the whole team at FX.”
Waititi recently concluded principal photography on Thor: Love and Thunder, which is slated for a May 6, 2022 release. His inspirational sports drama, Next Goal Wins, is ready but remains undated. Waititi’s television projects include Wellington Paranormal and What We Do in the Shadows — both spinoffs of the 2014 cult hit What We Do in the Shadows, which he co-directed with Jemaine Clement. He also has Our Flag Means Death, for HBO Max, and Time Bandits, for Apple TV+ in the pipeline.
Reservation Dogs features D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, and Lane Factor as the four teenage leads. Guest stars include Macon Blair, Zahn McClarnon, Tamara Podemski, Kirk Fox, Matty Cardapole, Dallas Goldtooth, and Bobby Lee. The show will premiere on August 9, and you can check out the trailer below: